Public Purpose in International Law: Rethinking Regulatory Sovereignty in the Global Era

Public Purpose in International Law: Rethinking Regulatory Sovereignty in the Global Era

By: Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga (author), C. Ryan Reetz (author)Hardback

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This text explores how the public purpose doctrine reconciles the often conflicting, but equally binding, obligations that states have to engage in regulatory sovereignty while honoring host-state obligations to protect foreign investment. The work examines the multiple permutations and iterations of the public purpose doctrine and concludes that this principle needs to be reconceptualized to meet the imperatives of economic globalization and of a new paradigm of sovereignty that is based on the interdependence, and not independence, of states. It contends that the historical expression of the public purpose doctrine in customary and conventional international law is fraught with fundamental flaws that, if not corrected, will give rise to disparities in the relationship between investors and states, asymmetries with respect to industrialized nations and developing states, and, ultimately, process legitimacy concerns.

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About Author

Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga is a partner in Bryan Cave LLP's International Arbitration and Litigation Practice Group, where he is the firm's co-leader and the co-founder of the Miami office. He has represented eight countries as lead counsel, and he has served in ICSID (World Bank) proceedings. Martinez-Fraga graduated from St John's College (BA, summa cum laude); Columbia University (JD), where he was Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar; and holds a PhD (international law) (cum laude) from Universidad Complutence de Madrid. He has published more than fifty articles in fifteen countries, which have been translated into five languages, and has written five books on public and private international law. C. Ryan Reetz is a partner in Bryan Cave LLP's International Arbitration and Litigation Practice Group, where he is co-founder and office-managing partner of the firm's Miami office. In addition to serving as counsel and as arbitrator in a wide range of international arbitration matters, he teaches and lectures and publishes extensively on international dispute resolution topics. A member of the American Law Institute since 2005, he served as chair of the Florida Bar International Law Section from 2013 to 2014. Reetz is a graduate of Harvard College (AB, magna cum laude) and of Boston University School of Law (JD, summa cum laude).


1. Public purpose in NAFTA; 2. Identifying public purpose in customary international law: select international instruments; 3. Defining the profile of the public purpose doctrine in human rights conventions; 4. The effect of bilateral investment treaties on the public purpose doctrine and the public purpose doctrine's distortion of symmetry in bilateral investment treaties: discerning order and structure; 5. Permanent sovereignty over natural resources; 6. The role of public purpose in foreign investment protection statutes: can FIPS rehabilitate the doctrine?; Appendix I. A comparison between the performance requirements articles of the Canada-Jordan BIT and the Colombia-Japan BIT; Appendix II. An empirical review of the pre-eminence of the public purpose doctrine throughout the ever-expanding universe of bilateral investment treaties; Appendix III. A spatial comparison of provisions relating to investment protection, incentives, and dispute resolution in foreign-investment promotion statutes and bilateral investment treaties.

Product Details

  • publication date: 19/02/2015
  • ISBN13: 9781107081741
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 470
  • ID: 9781107081741
  • weight: 800
  • ISBN10: 1107081742

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